IBM Is Using Watson To Psychoanalyze People From Their Tweets

Besides winning “Jeopardy” and helping “put a permanent end to leukemia,” IBM has found another use for its Watson supercomputer: psychoanalyzing people.

Watson is a computer that understands human language. Simply by looking at the language used when posting on social media sites, it can understand your personality and even predict major events likely to happen in your life.

Amazingly, this tech doesn’t even have to know a company’s customer’s social media accounts beforehand. It can figure them out on its own by sifting through what people post online with information in a company database.

The first use that comes to mind for this is marketing. The Watson tech tries to figure out what’s happening in a person’s life from social media to predict when to send you offers. As Fast Co. Design’s John Brownlee writes:

“It can even predict major life-events: if you changed your Facebook status to “Married” a year ago, for example, a company might infer that it was about time to start approaching you about products and services for your first child.”

If customers don’t want to be profiled, they need to make sure their social media is made private, though IBM is also looking into developing some kind of a more global opt-out feature, Brownlee reports.

Instead of selling consumers stuff, it’s possible this tech could also be used to provide better customer service. So if you tweet negatively about a company, they know who you are, your personality traits, your time zone, when and how they should contact you.

Here’s what your personality profile looks like to Watson:

IBM Research staff member Eben Haber’s explains how it works in this video:

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